WILL Davison admits the volume of support he and his Shell V-Power Racing Team have already received this weekend has come as a pleasant surprise.
Last time Supercars visited Pukekohe Park Raceway, it was an all-Kiwi line-up for the Ford powerhouse in the form of Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard.
Now, the only three New Zealanders in the field are all on the Holden side of the divide: Shane van Gisbergen (Red Bull Ampol Racing), Andre Heimgartner (Brad Jones Racing) and Chris Pither (PremiAir Racing).
But that hasn’t seemed to turn the Blue Oval into the common enemy for the sizeable crowd rolling through the gates.
“I love the way New Zealand goes about motorsport and the reception you get is huge,” Davison said after placing second in Practice 1.
“I was a bit surprised: there’s a lot of support for our team. Obviously a lot of Ford fans still want us to get up on SVG, which is pretty cool.
“I thought it was only going to be hate here but we have got a lot of support, it’s awesome.”
With van Gisbergen all but certain to seal a second successive championship, Davison said race wins are the sole goal for the Dick Johnson Racing crew – especially if such success can be found at Mount Panorama next month.
Indeed, the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner said there would “definitely” be some lessons from Pukekohe used directly for the Great Race.
Walkinshaw Andretti United took a similar approach last year, learning through the Sydney Motorsport Park swing to be primed for Bathurst glory.
“We never sit still, always trying stuff, so that’s the exciting part about being at a team of our calibre, particularly with Bathurst coming up, it’s a really special race for everyone,” said Davison.
“We weren’t the best there last year so that’s been a hot topic for us for months, so yeah, always trying stuff. Today we had a lot going on.
“You never know quite how it will equate but certainly we have got one eye on Bathurst, absolutely.
“We’re focused on this weekend but stuff can always equate. It’s a big four events coming up, it’s an exciting end to the year, but Bathurst is a big one for all of us.”
Supercars are back on track at Pukekohe tomorrow, with Practice 2 starting 9:35am AEST/11:35am NZST.